Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lanterne Rouge: Early Results

With the retirement of Wim Vansevenant, the winner of the Lanterne Rouge for three consecutive years, we have an open field for the coveted last place Tour de France finisher. In the old days the overall last place rider actually wore a red jersey. Now that the Tour takes it's self so bloody serious (it's just a bicycle race!) the politically incorrect jersey has been retired.

It's far too early in the Tour to start picking favorites for the Lanterne Rouge, the end of the train, but right now we have Alan Perez Lezuan of Euskatel-Euskadi in 178th place "22'10" back, trailing Astana's Dmitriy Muravyev by about three minutes. While losing 22 minutes in three days is quite an achievement, Lezuan will have trouble maintaining his "lead", as he's a climbing specialist and will be forced up in the rankings when they hit the mountains. In Muravyev, who is a water carrier, a domestique, we may have a contender. A lot will depend on him not missing any cutoff times and how much his team can support him when
they have two or three Yellow Jersey contenders to also support. I know he has my support. GO DMITRIY! or is it DON'T GO DMITRIY? That's all I got for him right now.

For more on the history of the Lanterne, go here for a complete listing of past winners, or here for an ongoing discussion of this years race for last. I'll post more results if it becomes interesting - but I do miss Wim.

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